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Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc. Blog

The Function of Your Air Conditioner’s Capacitor

As summer is officially here, you’re probably using your air conditioner more and more already. As temperatures climb, it will likely be on constantly. As familiar as you are with using your AC however, you probably don’t know much about the individual components that allow your system to cool your home.

Of course, we don’t expect our customers to understand every detail of an air conditioning system; that’s our job! However, it can be advantageous to at least have a basic understanding of some of the important components of your home cooling system, so that when something does go wrong you understand the necessity for quick repairs. One component that people should be aware of is the capacitor.

What is a Capacitor?

Start and run capacitors, also called dual run capacitors, are electrical components which store energy and then put that energy to use when it’s needed. Start capacitors, as the name implies, are used when your AC system first starts up.

This is the time that your AC requires the most energy. This means it is going to need a little help to get going successfully. The start capacitor boosts the starting torque in the motor briefly to get it over the hump.

The run capacitor has an equally important job as the start capacitor. It helps to keep your air conditioning system running in a reliable manner. It ensures that proper, consistent levels of current are moving through the system, so that your AC system doesn’t come grinding to a stop. As you can guess, a failing capacitor can result in detrimental effects for your air conditioner.

If your start capacitor has failed, then you might hear your system humming without actually starting up. If your run capacitor is failing, then you might hear your system start up, but then it will cycle off before it should—a process called short-cycling.

To learn more about air conditioning in Waverly, IA and to schedule AC services, contact Dalton Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. today! Your comfort is our promise.

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